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CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY v. LOCKFORMER CO.

November 2, 1990

CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE LOCKFORMER COMPANY, INC., DEFENDANT. CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY, INC., PLAINTIFF, V. THE LOCKFORMER COMPANY, INC., MET-COIL SYSTEMS CORP., MECHANICAL DATA, INC., ESTIMATION, INC., LION INTERNATIONAL COMPANY, D/B/A ORANGE SYSTEMS, AND ORANGE SYSTEMS/LOCKFORMER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin, Jr., District Judge:

  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on three motions brought by certain defendants in the above-referenced actions. A fourth motion, brought by defendant The Lockformer Company, Inc. ("Lockformer"), for summary judgment as to the validity of the patents at issue in this litigation is addressed in a separate Opinion of the Court.

With respect to defendant Met-Coil Systems Corp.'s motion for summary judgment, the motion is denied. The record presents factual issues as to the extent of the knowledge Metcoil had as a result of the supervision its officers exercised over the officers and employees of Lockformer who were directly involved in this project.

The motion of defendant Estimation, Inc. for summary judgment and the motion of defendants Met-Coil and Lockformer for partial summary judgment and for sanctions are also denied. The record again presents factual issues that must be resolved at trial.

SO ORDERED.

ON MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING VERDICT

The Motions For Judgment N.O.V. Or A New Trial

In large measure, the motions of the defendants simply seek to reargue matters that the Court decided during trial or which the jury resolved in the plaintiff's favor. Since all of these issues were addressed during the trial, the Court will not discuss them here but simply reaffirms the rulings that it made during the trial. The evidence was clearly sufficient to go to the jury with respect to each of the claims submitted to it, and there is no basis to set aside the verdicts reached by the jury, except as to the damages awarded on the theft of trade secrets and unfair competition claims.

The defendants argue that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's award of $1.2 million for the misappropriation of CTI's trade secrets. The defendants also contend that there was no basis for the jury to award an additional $750,000 on the unfair competition claim and point out that the jury's determination that the unfair competition damages should be added to the patent damages but not to the trade secret damages is inconsistent with its verdict that the trade secret damages were not in addition to the patent damages. The Court finds that there is merit to these arguments to the extent that the evidence was not sufficient to justify an award in excess of $406,260 on the trade secrets claims. The Court also finds that it was inconsistent to add the unfair competition damages to the patent damages but not to the trade secret damages.

In his summation, plaintiff's counsel argued that with respect to the theft of trade secrets the jury could find that plaintiff had a loss of profits totalling $406,260. The Court agrees that the evidence to which counsel alluded supports an award of that figure, but in the Court's view, that sum represents the outer limit of the amount of damage for theft of trade secrets that a jury could reasonably find. There is not sufficient proof in the record to sustain any higher award. The Court can also find no rational basis that would justify adding the unfair competition damages to the patent damages while at the same time including them in the trade secret damages which the jury found were not to be added to the patent damages.

Thus, the Court concludes that the damages with respect to both the trade secret and the unfair competition claims should be remitted to the amount of $406,260 which would not be in addition to the damages awarded on the patent infringement claim. Therefore, the Court will order a new trial with respect to damages on the trade secret and unfair competition claims unless within two weeks of the date of the entry of this Order plaintiff advises the Court that it would accept a remitter that reduces its award to the amount of $406,260 on both theft of trade secret claim and the unfair competition claim and which further provides that the $406,260 is included in the damages found with respect to the patent infringement claim. In all other respects the motions of the various defendants to set aside the verdict or for a new trial are denied.

Patent Issues Left Open For Post-Trial Determination

The matters left open for consideration after the trial are whether (1) the patented invention involves a non-patentable subject matter; (2) the 4,554,635 patent is invalid for double patenting; and (3) the patent is invalid because of ...


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